Akron-based FirstEnergy says it plans to close 856 of its 2346 megawatts of coal power capacity in Ohio by the year 2020. Four of the seven boilers at the Sammis power plant near Steubenville would close under the plan, while the Bay Shore plant near Toledo would close if a buyer isn't found.
The company says the facilities are no longer able to compete against gas-fired plants.
The Sammis facility has been at the center of a request by FirstEnergy to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for what opponents call a subsidy for the aging plants. But FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young says that’s unrelated to the proposed closures of Bay Shore and part of Sammis.
“The energy markets right now have a lot of factors that are influencing them: there’s lower demand – and that’s been happening over a number of years. A lot of that is driven by less industry in this area. Prices of power are lower, and all those things together influence the energy market and make it harder for these older plants to compete.”
The plan must be approved following a study of whether the closures would disrupt the stability of the power grid. About 450 employees work at the facilities, and Young says they would either be given opportunities to move to other FirstEnergy facilities, or to work for the new owner of Bay Shore if that plant is sold.